it is no secret that Season 23-24 has been a bit slow to get going and there were going to be a few notable absences from this year’s regatta. The most notable absence was Nick and Noddy in Sail Inc,
with Nick’s broken wrist still a few weeks from allowing them back on the water. Still, it was late November in Sydney and the sweet sea-breezes were bound to be just around the corner (they were not).
The forecast for the first weekend at Lane Cove looked horrible and a soft Easterly greeted the fleet for race 1. One of those soft Easterlies that has you crouching all day, content in the knowledge that it’s a consistent 15 knots plus on the harbour proper.
Terms and Conditions (Brad Phillips and Oscar Wilson) managed to get away early and despite the fleet getting closer as the race went on, held on for the win. Geotherm (Brett Hobson and Pistol Nicholson) fought back from an iffy start for second, and Sydney Sailmakers (Cam McDonald and Brendan Jenkins) was third.
Race’s 2 & 3.
The forecast looked worse for the Sunday, and it was arguably less fun but not in the way we imagined. The fleet went big rig with a Westerly at Lane Cove and an Easterly on the Harbour usually a recipe for a drifter, but the Westerly kicked at the gun and the big rigs were inside out in some puffs as we headed to Drummoyne. It’s a long work but as we hit the top mark, the breeze had shifted Sou-West, to then switch to the Nor-East as we hit the wing mark. Not much change in wind strength, so one whole triangle close-hauled in over-ragged big rig.
The blue and white kite of Geotherm was the first to set (at the bottom mark for the first time) and held on to comfortably take the win from Terms and Conditions and Red Energy.
Race 3 was a top end of big rig Nor-Easter but at least we got the odd kite ride. The race committee were justifiably proud in getting the course set up and away as quickly as they did. Special mention should be made of Dodgy Winning and Joe Bourne who had Your Move Conveyancing absolutely charging on the Sunday, only for a few unfortunate swims to cruel some excellent starts.
Geotherm would go on and win this race as well, with Terms and Conditions second, setting up a real battle for the second weekend.
In what would be an eerily similar weekend to the one before, the Saturday presented a soft Easterly on Sydney Harbour – so like the week before, but this time with chop!
The breeze was flicking between east and ESE and much was made or lost on being on the right side of a lift. Geotherm and Red Energy (Murray Press and Mark Muirhead) tussled for the lead up the first lap but Geotherm was able to clear out and would take a comfortable win. Unfortunately for the battle for over all, Terms and Conditions were forced to pull out with gear failure.
Stay Connected Electrical (Jakub Ronowicz and Ben Faulkner), Red Energy and Sydney Sailmakers battled for most of the day for the minor places and finished in that order.
Races 5 & 6.
A Southerly turned up for the Sunday, a little earlier than expected. The fleet unsure of whether it was a 2 nd or 3 rd rig day – with the forecast suggesting that 16-18knot range. All boats bar 1 went for
2 nd rig, and they were right for most of race 5…. then they were wrong.
Race 5 had us on a Southerly windward-leeward course, which turned into a bit of a soldiers as the breeze hung in the sou-east. Sydney Sailmakers, with Andrew O’Brien (Andrew taking a much deserved rest from fishing boat sailing) looking famous early. Geotherm had not had the best start but they avoided much of the chaos of tight loaded-up reaches across the harbour to take the win.
Red Energy would take second, and Sydney Sailmakers third.
Like the Sunday before, the race committee switched courses for the next race, and put us on the Sou-East course… just in time for the breeze to swing South and kick. Geotherm, who didn’t need to race, found an excuse to sail home.
Now the reason there is a race report at all will become clear, because those on Stay Connected Electrical are very keen for people to know they did NOT Bradbury this race. I mean, there is undeniably some Bradbury about it… it is Bradbury adjacent ... but not a Bradbury.
Stay Connected Electrical were the only boat out there with 3 rd rig on, and led around the first few marks, ahead of Red Energy and LCC (Jono Temple and Richard Jones).
It certainly kicked to survival conditions for those with 2 nd rig, settling in at 24-26 knots, although Red Energy sailed brilliantly to take the lead up around Shark Island. Unfortunately, during the ride to the finish that can only be described as ‘lit’, Murray and Mark did these 3 things, although the order in which it happened is a blur. Either way they had a sniff, broke a top spreader, and the mast came off the mast step.
LCC also swam on the kite launch having survived the bear away, leaving Stay Connected to take the win.
So, Brett Hobson and Pete Nicholson in Geotherm are 2023-24 NSW State Champions, with Red Energy second (and another win in the Veteran’s trophy), and the chaos of Sunday enough to sneak Stay Connected Electrical into third and an overall win on Handicap.
Thanks to Gabriela’s Lomi Flow Massage (LOMIFLOW - Hawaiian Bodywork) for donating prizes.
Those on starts and rescue boats did a fantastic job, with days like Sunday showing just how important they can be.